To curb the growing tide of extremists activities in the country, participants at a one day seminar for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Community Based Organizations (CBOs), Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) and other critical stakeholders held in Abuja have recommended the prosecution of IMN leaders and members for terrorism.
A communique issued at the end of the seminar and signed by Jonathan Audu, Abubakar Wakil Mohammad and Osita Egbuniwehe said the activities of IMN members, if not urgently checked, may constitute another insurgent war.
The seminar reviewed recent events in the country as they pertain to extremism and terrorism with focus on the confrontations between the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and security agencies in the country and the attendant deaths and heightening of the threats to the safety and security of Nigerians.
The event doubled as the launch of a book, “Terror in the Caliphate: An Exposition of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (Shiites)” by Sunday Attah, which detailed the background of IMN and its members’ violent relationship with the Nigerian state.
Participants at the seminar said IMN has, in the second half of 2018, made repeated attempt to relocate its operational base to Abuja under the guise of rallying in the nation’s capital to demand the release of its leader, Mr. Ibraheem El-Zakyzaky, whose bail application is a matter presently before a Kaduna High Court.
The Communique said, “The true intentions of the IMN have been revealed by the series of violent protests it has staged in Abuja, which has resulted in security operatives being attacked with various weapons, operational vehicles being burnt in clear cases of arson and terrorism, innocent Nigerians – residents of the city being harassed, and some members of the sect dying.
“The IMN has a formidable propaganda capabilities that has framed law enforcement organizations as aggressors that are committing crimes while the group’s members are projected as victims.
“Experts are of the view that the success of this kind of propaganda is providing IMN the cover to consolidate its position as a terror group since government is handicapped in dealing with its acts of terror.
“The Federal Government has continued to foot drag in activating the necessary anti-terrorism legislation to properly designate IMN as a terror group so that its activities can be fully proscribed in all parts of the country. The time lapse between when Kaduna state outlawed IMN and when its members began attempting to overrun Abuja without the Federal Government listing it as a terror group poses danger to other citizens.
“IMN designated events and anniversary are no longer innocuous as they have all been turned into triggers for violence against the state and citizens. The impending December 14 anniversary of its clash with security organizations in Zaria is a potential start of another round of violence that cannot be ignored.
“There is an indifference towards acknowledging the roles being played by those that provide intellectual support for IMN and their acts of terror. The recruitment of celebrity activists and paid agitators into the ranks of IMN indicate that the group is mutating and expanding its catchment criteria for recruiting fighters”the communique said
It also condemned in strongest terms the invasion of the nation’s capital by IMN members owing to its symbolic depiction of terrorism.
It also urged CSOs, CBOs and FBOs are to engage the Federal Government to within a specified timeframe designate IMN as a terrorist organization and also demanded that the government dismantles IMN’s terror infrastructure including but not limited to identifying and blocking its source of funding and to stop the ability of its members to acquire weapons.
“Government should also tightens the vetting and issuance of visas to aliens known to pose as clerics for the purpose of indoctrinating youths to joins extremists movements.
“To seek funding that would make the book “Terror in the Caliphate: An Exposition of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (Shi’ites)” by Sunday Attah widely available to youths, especially in areas prone to being used as recruitment ground by the IMN.
“To carry out quarterly review of the progress made in containing IMN among others”
Presentations to participants included a Paper titled: “Religions as a catalyst for Peace Building, National Integration and Conflict Management in Nigeria” by Dr Mahfouz Adedimeji,
“Comparative Analyses of South East Asia Fundamentalist Movement and The IMN; Why Nigeria Must act Fast” presented by Mr Don Pathan, “IMN; The New National Security Threat That Must be Stopped” By Dr. Oliver Tersoo Agundu and a presentation via Skype by John Fiegener from Rome entitled: “IMN-ISIS; Foreign Interests and Distabilisation Agenda”